Artistic swimming open to men at Olympics for first time in ‘evolution towards inclusiveness’ | world news

Men will be allowed to compete in artistic swimming at the Olympics for the first time in the sport’s history.

The International Olympic Committee has given its approval for World Aquatics to allow men to compete in artistic swimming – formerly known as synchronized swimming – at Paris 2024.

Men will now be able to compete in the team event, with the new rules allowing no more than two men in a team of eight competitors.

Men have been allowed to participate in the FINA World Aquatic Championships since 2015.

American swimmer and coach Bill May was the first-ever men’s world champion at the 2015 mixed media duet championships and has been a leading voice lobbying for change.

He said having men in Olympic artistic swimming was “once considered an impossible dream”.

“It proves that we all have to dream big. Male athletes have endured. Today, thanks to their perseverance and the help and support of so many people, all athletes can stand side by side equally, to achieve Olympic glory.”

Giorgio Minisini, one of the leading men competing in the sport and world champion in 2017 and 2022, called the announcement a “milestone”.

Image:
Manila Flamini and Giorgio Minisini of Italy compete in the Mixed Duet Technical Final at the 2019 FINA World Swimming Championships

“The evolution of our sport towards inclusivity continues rapidly, and this decision by the IOC and World Aquatics will help us become an example for the entire Olympic movement.”

World Aquatics chairman Husain Al-Musallam said the men “proved to be excellent artistic swimmers”.

“I can’t wait to see this new dimension of artistic swimming being shared with the world in Paris.

“The inclusion of men in artistic swimming is a great credit to all who have worked for many years to make this happen.”

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